For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Stacey Ake

Stacey E. Ake, PhD, PhD

Teaching Professor of Philosophy
Director, Health and Medical Humanities Certificate
Department of English and Philosophy
Office: 5016 MacAlister


  • PhD, Philosophy, The Pennsylvania State University, 1999
  • PhD, Biology, The Pennsylvania State University, 1994
  • MA, Philosophy, The Pennsylvania State University, 1994
  • BA Biology/History, Houghton College, 1985

Curriculum Vitae:

Download (PDF)

Research Interests:

  • CS Peirce
  • Walker Percy
  • Kierkegaard
  • Existentialism
  • Bioethics
  • Semiotics
  • Biosemiotics


I am a philosopher-scientist. While in my day job I work as a Teaching Professor of philosophy, my real life lies in asking questions. I ask questions about everything. This is reflected in my own life and educational journey. For instance, I took six months and backpacked across Europe and Turkey. I got to see Eastern Europe in the process of rebuilding itself after the Wall came down. I saw the aftereffects of the Yugoslav Civil War. In doing this, I learned a great deal about humanity—my own and that of others. I have lived in Mexico and Denmark and England. I have seen what poverty looks like as well as the nature of a society based on social democracy. I’ve also seen what a great imperial nation looks like as it and its empire die. In my education, I did undergraduate work in history and biology. I followed this with a PhD in biology, specifically in population and evolutionary genetics. I did my fieldwork in Mexico among Mayan villages on the Yucatan Peninsula. I used today’s common molecular techniques when they were in their infancy. I also did work in anthropology and ecology. My next stop was a Master’s degree and PhD in philosophy. My Master’s was on semiotics—the theory of signs and sign use—and the nature of evil. My PhD work addressed a broader question: what is the relationship between body, mind, and spirit? To do this, I used nascent theories about the endmindment of the body, the animal nature of human beings, the construction of the self, the ethics of identity formation. These are all existential questions, and I use existential methods when I teach because you cannot get the right answer until you ask the right question. I am still asking questions today.

Selected Publications:

  • Ake, Stacey E. 2022 “Symbolism, Existence, and the Whole Nine Yards” in South Atlantic Review Winter 2022, Volume 87, Issue 4. Special Issue on Walker Percy. (Book Review)
  • Ake, Stacey E. 2022 “It’s All About the Benjamins” in The Pluralist 17 (2). Special issue on the time of Covid.
  • Ake, Stacey E. 2020 ““If You Are All Christians, then I Am Not”: How Kierkegaard Helped Me Survive a Christian College”” in Taking Kierkegaard Personally: First Person Responses Eds. James Lorentzen and Gordon Marino, Mercer University Press, Macon, GA
  • Ake, Stacey E. 2018 “That Mystery Category “Fourthness” and Its Relationship to the Work of C. S. Peirce” in Walker Percy, Philosopher Ed. Leslie Marsh, Palgrave MacMillan, New York, NY.
  • Ake, Stacey E. 2018 “La costruzione semiotica del sé: continuità attraverso la discontinuità” in Identità, Libertà e Responsibilità Eds. Fernando Di Mieri and Daniele D’Agostino,, Edizioni Ripostes di Anna Carelli, Giffoni Valle Piana, Italy
  • Ake, Stacey E. 2016. “Scientists in the Cosmos: An Existential Approach to the Debate between Science and Religion” in Zygon: The Journal of Religion and Science — a special issue on Walker Percy